Determined Jeeps fall short to Cardinals

Photos by Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
Washington Catholic's Catherine Bassler defends Northeast Dubois' Amberly Jacob in the first half of the Class 1A sectional opener at Cedar Crest Intermediate School in Bretzville on Tuesday. After the Cardinals led 1-0 at halftime, they were able to score three more quick goals in the second half to defeat the Jeeps 4-2. For more photos from the match, click here.


BRETZVILLE — It has been a long season for the Northeast Dubois girls soccer team to say the least. After graduating seven seniors from last year’s team the Jeeps had the challenge of coming together as a young team and trying to integrate a lot of players who were new to the game of soccer.

There were a lot of ups and downs during the fall. There were times when it looked like the team took a step forward only to take two steps back. But on Tuesday night the Jeeps came and showed the fight they had displayed all season, despite the struggles and the injuries they had been forced to deal with throughout the year. Their season ended with a 4-2 loss to the Washington Catholic Cardinals, but they didn’t lay down and take the easy way out. They displayed their Jeep Edge right up to the end of the game.

Northeast Dubois head coach Dylan Robling was proud of the way his team kept playing despite looking up at a four-goal deficit about halfway through the second half. They kept trying for the ball and shooting at Washington Catholic’s net, which is all a coach could ask for.

“They played strong,” said Robling. “For what we have they played very well. They didn’t give up. It was 4-0 and they were able to put two in the back of the net. And they weren’t lucky or cheap goals. They were good goals, passing the ball around, dribbling past people. Very skillful.”

Both teams came out hard as they wanted to establish control of the game and stamp their ticket to the next round of sectional. The Jeeps and Cardinals went back and forth in the battle for possession. Just when one team would start a march up the field toward the opposing net, a streaking defender would swoop in and take the ball in the other direction.

But soon enough Washington Catholic gained the upper hand on the contest. Junior forward Elena Esser was able to find a way behind the defensive lines of Northeast Dubois and cleared sophomore goalie KariAnn Scherzinger for the first goal of the game. But outside of that there would be little offense mounted by either team and the Jeeps were able to go into halftime with a simple 1-0 deficit.

But Esser and company would make things more complicated in the second half. Using her speed and sharp dribbling skills, Esser was able to find the net once again for the Cardinals and put some distance between the two squads. And soon enough a couple of her teammates added to the lead. Sophomore forward Ally Cline and senior forward Brooklyn Fuhs put in goals three and four respectively as the gap between Washington Catholic and Northeast Dubois grew ever wider.

But the Jeeps kept chugging along. Their coaches kept issuing instructions and the crowd stayed behind them as the girls did what they could to mount a comeback. And they were successful in some respects.

Northeast Dubois' Leah Kerstiens, left, jokes around with teammate Maggie Poppe during halftime of the Class 1A sectional opener against Washington Catholic at Cedar Crest Intermediate School in Bretzville on Tuesday. For more photos from the match, click here.

With about twenty minutes remain in the game, junior midfielder Taylor Neukam dribbled up the field and stopped just outside of the penalty area. She lined up a shot on the Cardinals’ net and was able to kick it past senior goalie Paloma Atilano to give the Jeeps their first goal of the game. Later on, freshman forward Lexi Freyberger was able to take advantage of the fact that Atilano was lured out of the net and knock in another goal for Northeast Dubois. But the Jeeps were not able to get a solid foot on the ball for the rest of the game, and when the scoreboard struck 0, the Cardinals emerged the victors.

Robling and boys soccer coach Clive Williams faced the girls after the game and reminded them of everything they had to overcome during the season and encouraged them to pick their heads up despite the their final record. Robling also reminded them that they are still a very young team and they can use this season’s experience to get better during the offseason and come back ready to work next fall. It would be up to them how they moved past a difficult season, but Robling believes that they can.

“This season has been a long one,” he said. “A bunch of new players, ups-and-downs, and injuries. One day we would work well, all the sudden the next game the communication wasn’t there. But today they put one of their best games forward. They never gave up, even though they had a rough season. I hope they take it a little more seriously and realize practice can be fun, but it’s work. I hope that’s what they take away.”

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